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Phosphatidylserine - big name, big effects

  
  
  
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Phosphatidylserine (PS), a phospholipid component of neuronal cell membranes, is acknowledged to be a beneficial tool in the fight against the multi-headed beast that is chronic stress. Stress and physiological stressors come at us from all sides, and can be caused by chronic sleep debt, over-exercising, financial worries, employment, relationships, and more. In dealing with these stressors our bodies often need extra support, which can be found in beneficial nutrients such as phosphatidylserine. As a play on words, some healthcare practitioners have taken to calling PS “phosphatidyl serene,” for its ability to help regulate our stress hormones, most notably cortisol.

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MSM for Detoxification: Old Dog, New Trick

  
  
  
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Methylsulfonylmethane—a big name befitting a nutritional big hitter. MSM has a long history of efficacy with conditions related to joint health, particularly osteoarthritis. MSM’s benefits for joint health are largely due to the presence of sulfur and the key role sulfur plays in the disulfide bonds that contribute to the physical structure of connective tissue. But sulfur does much more than that. It is a key player in detoxification, and just like we wouldn’t start spring cleaning in our homes without having some good (and non-toxic) cleaners on hand, likewise it is helpful to maintain appropriate sulfur levels in the body to ensure optimal detoxification.

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Singing the Praises of Stinging Nettle

  
  
  
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The beginning of each new season brings hope and anticipation of weekend getaways and family adventures; however, for many individuals their plans are often spoiled by seasonal allergies. Sneezing, runny noses, watery eyes, sore throats, congestion and the overarching feeling of being sick interrupt life and threaten to spoil good times.  Much of the population suffers from these wearying symptoms, as evidenced by the increasingly frequent television advertisements claiming to provide relief through the next generation of successful allergy medications.  Unfortunately, the undesirable side effects of these same medications – such as the dreaded drowsiness and dried out mucous membranes – zap our energy and dampen our ability to make seasonal memories with loved ones. Perhaps we have forgotten how centuries ago, before modern antihistamines and decongestants were produced, relief from seasonal allergies was found in many herbs containing natural antihistamine properties.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Take Lemon Balm

  
  
  
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In the 21st century, the hallmarks of American childhood no longer revolve around apple pie, homemade meals, and songs like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Instead, children’s lives are characterized by the consumption of fast food, innovative technology and a plethora of after-school activities. They are more familiar with the family van than the family room. An inescapable reality exists in which America is morphing into a society branded by speed and productivity.  However, despite the accomplishments achieved through fast-paced lifestyles, we cannot ignore the inner turmoil that occurs as our bodies strive to maintain optimal health and wellness during periods of chronic stress.

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Macular Degeneration: Fight for Your Eyes

  
  
  
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“The eye is the jewel of the body.”  ~Henry David Thoreau

Rosemary: More Than Meets the Taste Buds

  
  
  
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Ah, rosemary…that distinctively aromatic, woody herb.  Its pungent flavor seems to go a long way in flavoring many a recipe, but along with its touted fragrance and taste comes a propensity to support health. 

Nature’s little helper, a forgotten therapy

  
  
  
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As antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to be a health crisis, bacteriophages (natural viruses) may be looked upon as a potential solution. Bacteriophages are the most common life form on earth and outnumber bacteria 10 to one with billions of years of experience. For every bacterium known on the planet, there are legions of bacteriophages (tiny viruses that seek out bacteria and use them as a breeding ground) and destroy the bacteria in the process. They are consumed daily in virtually all fresh and non-processed foods, in particular fermented foods.1 Therefore, using naturally-occurring, lytic bacteriophages may be the safest, most “green”, prebiotic currently available. Most people think of “prebiotics” as non-digestible starches that bacteria use for food, not viruses that consume bacteria. According to the FDA, a prebiotic is a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, and therefore improves the health of the host. Bacteriophages are a component of the intestinal flora of healthy humans2 and have been used as human therapeutics for many years with no reports of adverse effects.3

Gestational Diabetes and the Roles of Calcium and Vitamin D

  
  
  
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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) has been recognized for decades; however, as America continues to embrace high carbohydrate, high sugar, high processed diets, physicians should pay closer attention to the ever-increasing signs and outcomes of GDM. Currently, GDM is thought to affect up to 18 percent of all pregnancies in the United States however, new diagnostic standards aimed at more rigorously identifying GDM risks would nearly triple the current rate of prevalence. This follows recent concerns regarding the long-term effects of GDM and the more recent revelation that even the slightest sign of impaired glucose regulation could lead to adverse outcomes.

Insulin Sensitivity and Sleep, or Lack Thereof

  
  
  
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Study after worldwide study (and there were many this year) correlate the ramifications of sleep deprivation on insulin sensitivity. The jury was clear – sleep loss affects the body’s ability to match up the glucose-insulin response.

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Kids & Probiotics: Let There Be Germs!

  
  
  
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Let’s face it; the 20th century was an unqualified success for modern medicine in drastically reducing and in some cases eradicating debilitating and fatal diseases. No one can argue that ending the scourges of terrifying conditions like polio and smallpox wasn’t a huge victory. Unfortunately, since every rose has its thorn, in our overzealous attempt to neutralize every possible germ, virus, and speck of bacteria, we have now sterilized, pasteurized, and irradiated ourselves into a hyper-clean environment in which we have to go out of our way to introduce beneficial bacteria into our bodies.

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